Please note that all guidance in relation to education is based on laws and guidelines in relation to England. If you live in Wales, N. Ireland of Scotland please find the relevant Sen Code of Practice in my blogroll on the RHS of the page.
Achieving a suitable and sufficient support package in school can be another tricky road to navigate. Especially if your child masks difficulties in school or if you don’t have a specific PDA diagnosis.
My child doesn’t have a diagnosis of PDA?
Support in school should be needs led and so you should not need to have a diagnosis in order to request suitable support from the school. If your child is not diagnosed with PDA you may point out that it is this cluster of symptoms that most accurately describe your child and that PDA strategies have proved to be successful at home.
My child masks in school and so the school don’t see the problem?
If your child masks in the school setting then provide the schools SENCO with information that explains that this is very typical for many children with ASC and particularly so for those with PDA. Explain that although your child may appear fine it is of paramount importance to implement strategies in order to avoid potential issues further down the line. As illustrated in this Post
If your child is not currently on the schools special educational needs (SEN) register, make an appointment with the school’s SENCO to request if this can be done as soon as possible. When a child is placed on the SEN register this should automatically release extra funding from the schools SEN Funding Pot, for the child concerned, of up to an additional amount of approx. £6000.00 per annum. Support in school should be to maintain a child’s emotional well being, in relation to any SEN, as well as academic attainment.
It may also be worth requesting the involvement of the Educational Psychologist and Autism Outreach Team for advice and consultancy at this stage.
Useful information to share with the school
Provide the school with information about PDA and suitable strategies for them to hopefully implement when dealing with your child.
This booklet is extremely informative and easy to read. It may appear to be more geared towards younger children but the same principals, with adaptations, can still apply to older children. http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/education/educational-strategies-booklet-from-positive-pda
Excellent and in-depth peer reviewed paper by Phil Christie that covers the diagnostic criteria for PDA, the child as a learner and teaching strategies and approaches. http://www.aettraininghubs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/5.2-strategies-for-teaching-pupils-with-PDA.pdf
Advice on managing a child with PDA by the National Autistic Society National Autistic Society – PDA Educational Strategies
For advice on suitable strategies within education please visit Videos 6, 7, 8 and 9 by Neville Starnes.
A wonderful document that clearly explains the style of communication that is more effective for individuals with PDA. PDA style of communication
If, despite a graduated response to your child’s needs, your child is not making improvements either academically or socially/emotionally then you can apply for an EHCP assessment in order to gain more support and funding. Requesting an EHCP assessment
If the school are not meeting your child’s SEN you can challenge this by going through the process suggested in the link provided.
In some cases, if your local authority are not meeting your child’s SEN or acting in accordance with the law, you may be able to take your local authority to Judicial Review but you may need to appoint a solicitor to do this for you.
If you have the available finances or you are eligible for legal aid it may be beneficial to appoint a specialised SEN solicitor to guide you through the process as soon as you begin experiencing difficulties.
The following solicitors specialise in SEN but you would need to contact them directly in order to ensure if they accept legal aid. Also I cannot guarantee the quality of these services.
For more advice on SEN please visit IPSEA, Send code of practice , SEN SOS and National Autistic Society – helpline – educational rights